The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Options for carbon sequestration in the Solent Region

Options for carbon sequestration in the Solent Region
Options for carbon sequestration in the Solent Region
Carbon sequestration is the removal of carbon from the atmosphere as a result of natural or man-made processes. Not all emissions will be able to be reduced to zero, therefore carbon sequestration will play a vital role in enabling countries and organizations to achieve net zero targets and potentially to become net negative. Carbon off-setting harnesses carbon sequestration by investing in projects which remove carbon from the atmosphere and so form ‘carbon credits’ for the investor. The aim of this study was to identify options for nature-based and non-nature based carbon sequestration in the Solent region.

Nature-based offsetting, which is likely to play the main role in the short term comprises Blue carbon, the sequestration of carbon via marine habitats such as sea grass and salt marsh, and the more familiar Green carbon, which refers to terrestrial habitats such as woodland or grassland.

Research suggests that blue carbon could have significant potential for carbon removal with sequestration rates that may exceed those of Green carbon. However, Solent region specific research on the extent of current blue carbon habitats, their sequestration rates and the potential for restoring further habitat is missing. This could form one theme of the potential future Centre for Green Maritime Innovation.
The Solent region contains a wide variety of green carbon habitats including woodland, grassland, heathland, peatland and hedgerows. Most of these habitats have been depleted by urbanisation or other land use change so that the scope for further land-use change or restoration is potentially limited. Further research is therefore required to understand where green carbon habitats could be restored or created.
Grey carbon or non-nature-based offsetting refers to sequestration via man-made technologies. At present, many grey carbon technologies are unproven at industrial scale but as their capacity comes to exceed available nature- based options, they are likely to be a vital component of long-term carbon removal and storage. The recently announced Solent Cluster1 will enable the University to build on its research capacity in this area but it should be mindful of the reputational risks of engaging with major fossil fuel producers or processors.

Finally, it is recommended that an offsetting plan is developed in case it is required as a last resort in order to achieve the University’s ‘Net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030’ target. This should use accredited providers and could comprise a portfolio of blue and green carbon projects. This plan could align with the principles of the University’s Civic Strategic Plan2, its prioritised area of “Environment, Sustainability, Decarbonisation and Biodiversity” and the proposed evergreen funding mechanism. Accordingly, investing in local, regional and then UK based projects could be prioritised with international projects considered a last resort to ensure that the University invests as locally as possible, to the benefit of local communities and environments with available capacity.
Trewick, Charlotte
2599825f-8736-4b58-9ffb-a6401698a8a3
Anderson, Ben
01e98bbd-b402-48b0-b83e-142341a39b2d
Trewick, Charlotte
2599825f-8736-4b58-9ffb-a6401698a8a3
Anderson, Ben
01e98bbd-b402-48b0-b83e-142341a39b2d

Trewick, Charlotte and Anderson, Ben (2023) Options for carbon sequestration in the Solent Region (Sustainability Implementation Group Discussion Paper) Southampton. 26pp.

Record type: Monograph (Working Paper)

Abstract

Carbon sequestration is the removal of carbon from the atmosphere as a result of natural or man-made processes. Not all emissions will be able to be reduced to zero, therefore carbon sequestration will play a vital role in enabling countries and organizations to achieve net zero targets and potentially to become net negative. Carbon off-setting harnesses carbon sequestration by investing in projects which remove carbon from the atmosphere and so form ‘carbon credits’ for the investor. The aim of this study was to identify options for nature-based and non-nature based carbon sequestration in the Solent region.

Nature-based offsetting, which is likely to play the main role in the short term comprises Blue carbon, the sequestration of carbon via marine habitats such as sea grass and salt marsh, and the more familiar Green carbon, which refers to terrestrial habitats such as woodland or grassland.

Research suggests that blue carbon could have significant potential for carbon removal with sequestration rates that may exceed those of Green carbon. However, Solent region specific research on the extent of current blue carbon habitats, their sequestration rates and the potential for restoring further habitat is missing. This could form one theme of the potential future Centre for Green Maritime Innovation.
The Solent region contains a wide variety of green carbon habitats including woodland, grassland, heathland, peatland and hedgerows. Most of these habitats have been depleted by urbanisation or other land use change so that the scope for further land-use change or restoration is potentially limited. Further research is therefore required to understand where green carbon habitats could be restored or created.
Grey carbon or non-nature-based offsetting refers to sequestration via man-made technologies. At present, many grey carbon technologies are unproven at industrial scale but as their capacity comes to exceed available nature- based options, they are likely to be a vital component of long-term carbon removal and storage. The recently announced Solent Cluster1 will enable the University to build on its research capacity in this area but it should be mindful of the reputational risks of engaging with major fossil fuel producers or processors.

Finally, it is recommended that an offsetting plan is developed in case it is required as a last resort in order to achieve the University’s ‘Net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030’ target. This should use accredited providers and could comprise a portfolio of blue and green carbon projects. This plan could align with the principles of the University’s Civic Strategic Plan2, its prioritised area of “Environment, Sustainability, Decarbonisation and Biodiversity” and the proposed evergreen funding mechanism. Accordingly, investing in local, regional and then UK based projects could be prioritised with international projects considered a last resort to ensure that the University invests as locally as possible, to the benefit of local communities and environments with available capacity.

Text
Trewick_Anderson_2022_Options for carbon sequestration in the Solent Region_v1.2 - Author's Original
Restricted to Registered users only
Download (547kB)
Request a copy
Text
Trewick_Anderson_2022_Options for carbon sequestration in the Solent Region_v1.2_public - Version of Record
Download (545kB)

More information

Published date: January 2023

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 474758
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/474758
PURE UUID: 676780dc-3774-4b26-803b-a4b2b9f88797
ORCID for Ben Anderson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2092-4406

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 02 Mar 2023 17:43
Last modified: 18 Mar 2023 02:44

Export record

Contributors

Author: Charlotte Trewick
Author: Ben Anderson ORCID iD

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×